Kumaraswamy Under Scanner: Faces on video clips masked, audio clips not directly linked to bribe
Reddy’s bribery proof: Bank transactions, CDs
Johnson T A, Indian Express, Thursday, August 24, 2006
BELLARY, AUGUST 23: Nearly 50 days after he alleged that Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy and two of his JD(S) cabinet colleagues had received a Rs 150-crore bribe to facilitate illegal iron-ore mining in Bellary district, BJP MLC Janardhan Reddy today produced details of activity in the bank accounts of Kumaraswamy’s sister-in-law H Kavita and the BSK Iron Ore Trading Company run by the CM’s family.
Pointing to the credit and debit of large quantities of money from these accounts over the past few months, Reddy, at a keenly awaited “reveal-all” press conference here, insinuated that the transactions involve bribe money collected from Bellary’s mine owners. Reddy also produced a CD comprising five audio and video clips.
In four of these clips — the faces have been masked in the videos — two people are heard complaining of hurdles being posed to the mining business in Bellary by Kumaraswamy and his family. Reddy stated that the people heard complaining in the CD are mine owners upset by extortion attempts in the name of the BSK company and the Chief Minister. A fifth clip shows the son of Forest Minister C Chenigappa claiming before a fake television crew that Rs 52 crore had been collected for the Chenamma Devegowda Trust to create an orphanage. The source of the money is not provided. Reddy has claimed that part of the collections for the trust is slush money from Bellary.
Forest minister Chenigappa and home minister M P Prakash are the two other JDS leaders accused of iron-ore mining related corruption by Reddy. The BJP MLC, who is under intense pressure from his party’s leadership to protect the fledgling coalition in Karnataka, also claimed that the CD and documents made public on Wednesday were part of the first phase of his campaign against the Chief Minister.
“I have recorded evidence on eight CDs. This is just the first phase. I will not stop till this CM resigns. My attack is directly against the corrupt Kumaraswamy, not against M P Prakash or Chenigappa,” Reddy said. The BJP MLC said he would place all the evidence gathered by him before the High Court in a writ petition seeking a CBI probe into his allegation.
“There are hundreds of transactions into which the bribery money has been directed, only an investigative agency can pinpoint the source of funds in the accounts of the CM’s family members and how it has been spent,” Reddy said. The MLC claimed he did not want to reveal all evidence with him as he did not want to jeopardise the lives of several people who had helped him gather it.
The BJP MLC labeled Kumaraswamy’s sister-in-law’s bank accounts as the Reserve Bank of the Devegowda family. “They use accounts held by H Kavita to make black money transactions appear like white money transactions,” he said. Kavita is the wife of Kumaraswamy’s oldest brother H D Balakrishna Gowda. Bank documents show that amounts of over Rs 1 crore have also been frequently transferred from Kavita’s account to that of her aging mother Jayamma.
He said a comparison of credits into Kavita’s bank accounts showed that they peaked a month after Kumaraswamy became Chief Minister, touching over Rs 7 crore in March 2006. On the BSK Trading Co front, Reddy has said the company headed by H D Balakrishna Gowda has been threatening mine owners into supplying export quality iron ore from Bellary for free.
Following Reddy’s tame revelations the BJP state leadership ruled that the JD(S)-BJP coalition is intact. State party chief Sadananda Gowda said he would write to senior leaders to initiate fresh action against the already suspended Janardhan Reddy.